Saturday, 20 December 2014

Chocolate Eclair's

I remember as a kid drooling over the chocolate éclair's in the bakery windows.  You would buy one and you got one of two things.  If it was just your mass produce it type bakery you got mock cream YUCK! if it was a real bakery they had either real cream or crème patisserie or if you were really lucky you got both!

Then I had an éclair in France when I was 17 and wow I have never looked back!  And I have not found a bakery in Australia that can compare to true French pastries.  I have this wonderful facebook page that I visit on a daily basis to see wonderful photos of France and they regularly have photos of the Patisserie windows full of their glorious wares.  Yes I do drool over them.

I had a little drama unfold in our house whilst making the Choux for the éclair's, we got a new kitten the same day and well it has been cat drama central since.  My first batch I took my eye off for less than 5 minutes and it went runny, so make sure that you have a drama free house while making the Choux at least.

This is Smudge, the cause of cat drama central.  She can climb on Lala's cooking stool but is too small to see over the bench.

40g butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs
100g dark chocolate
600 ml whipped cream

Pre heat oven to 220C.

In a saucepan heat water and butter until simmering.  Dump the flour into the saucepan all at once and beat with a wooden spoon over the heat. At this stage you are cooking the flour taste out of the flour.  Keep beating until this paste comes to a ball with no lumps,  when it comes to a smooth ball you can dump the flour mix into your food processor fitted with a steal blade or your mixer bowl.  I find the food processor is the easiest.  Add the lightly beaten eggs to the processor and turn on, allow to go for about 30 seconds to a minute or until mixture thickens and is combined.

Spoon mix into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a Ziploc bag, snip the corner off the Ziploc to desired size, remember choux almost triples in size.  Depending on the desired size of the eclair's, pipe to 3 inches for mini eclair's or 6 inches for large or Man sized.

Bake for 8 minutes at 220C then turn the oven down to 180C for a further 10 minutes, turn the oven off and allow the éclair's to stand in the oven for a further 10 minutes with the door slightly ajar.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.


To Ice just melt 100g dark chocolate and dip the top into the melted chocolate,  allow to harden.

When ready to serve cut open and fill with whipped cream.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Rich Chocolate Mousse

You know when you have memories of something that was a super treat as a child?  This is one of those memories,  the reality is just as good as the memory!

Mum and Dad used to have dinner parties when I was a child,  I remember Mum making this for the dessert, I remember sticking my finger in this and getting in trouble.

I did have to beg the recipe many years ago from my Mum, when she finally got around to letting me take the Cordon Bleu recipe books she kept three of them, one had this recipe in it.

I now make this as a treat.  Be warned it is not a light fluffy chocolate mousse, it is a rich dense addictive dessert you devour in silence.  Word of warning, serve it in small glasses you can stick your tongue in as you may just end up trying to lick the glass clean!

200g dark chocolate
4 eggs separated
2 tablespoons espresso
2 tablespoons brandy

In a heatproof bowl melt the chocolate either over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (your preferred method).  Allow to cool slightly,  beat egg yolks into the chocolate mixture one at a time until smooth and combined.  Add the coffee and brandy beating until smooth.  Set aside.

In your mixing bowl whisk the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks.

Take a spoon of the egg whites and mix through the chocolate mixture, you don't have to be too careful as you are looking to loosen the chocolate and make it easier to fold through the rest of the egg whites.

Fold through the remaining egg whites until combined.  Spoon into glasses and place in the fridge to set for 3 to 4 hours.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and watch your friends and family go cross eyed trying to get the last little bit of chocolate out of the glass!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Scott's Chilli Con Carne

This recipe has been adapted over the years, Scott keeps telling me it is not hot enough, so I up the ante every time I cook it. 

A couple of years ago we heard of a chilli that was grown near us that was the hottest in the world.  So hot that people who ate it went blind.... I'm just reporting the media reports here!  I took Scott on a pilgrimage to the holy place of chilli growth The Chilli Factory and I picked up three bottles of this sauce called Scorpion Strike.

I use it in the Chilli and quickly learnt that you must have the exhaust fan on high or you will choke on the fumes!  I did ask for a gas mask for my 40th birthday, I thought I would get one of those trendy black numbers, however I got one from god knows when in the distant past I think from Russia.

About 12 months ago I was making a batch of Chilli for Scott on a Sunday afternoon, Scott had advised me he would be home by a certain time as we had guests coming and he was late.  Two hours late.  I think I ended up using 3 tablespoons of the Scorpion Strike.  Scott managed 2 lunches through the following week before he gave up and didn't eat the rest,  I still have some in the freezer on standby in case he is late home again!

500g Chuck Steak
2 medium onions chopped
1 red chilli of choice chopped finely
1 teaspoon ground hot chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Chilli sauce
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins kidney beans
Olive oil

Heat olive oil in pan and then sweat your onions until translucent.  While the onions are cooking, cut your chuck into 2 cm cubes and place in food processor with steel blade.  Pulse food processor 5 to 10 times or until the meat is a mix of larger and smaller chunks.

When your onion is translucent add the chillies, chilli powder, cumin and chilli paste to the onions, stir them together and allow to cook for a minute.  Make sure your exhaust fan is on as high as it will go or the fumes may get you!

Add your meat to the onion/chilli mixture and allow meat to brown, approx. 5 mins. 

Add the tins of tomatoes and stir together, bring to a simmer.


Cut a paper cartouche (circle) out of baking paper to put over the chilli while cooking.  Allow to simmer on the lowest flame for 3 hours stirring every hour to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Add the tins of kidney beans and allow to simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve and add the toppings of your choice.